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Oscar Worthy Limited Releases

May 29th, 2009

Awards Season finally ends as Departures, the Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language Film, finally opens. Strangely, while we have an Oscar winner on this week's list, it is not earning the best reviews.

Departures - Reviews
A Japanese film about a cellist who just lost his job. It won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, but critics here have been less kind. Granted, 71% positive is better than most wide releases earn, but it is below the level usually associated with films that thrive in limited release. That said, its Oscar win should help it during its opening weekend. Departures opens tonight in 10 theaters, mostly in New York City and the Los Angeles area, but also in Chicago, San Francisco, and other cities.

Pontypool - Reviews
The best-reviewed film on this week's list, it will still have a great deal of trouble earning box office success. First of all, its reviews are only 75% positive, which is a little below the 80% positive usually associated with box office success in limited release. Secondly, it is a Canadian film, so most people reading this have never heard of it, or its stars, or its writer / director. Finally, it is a horror film, which is not a genre that thrives in limited release. Taking all of that into account, while I don't think it will be a box office hit, it could do well on the home market. Pontypool opens tonight at the Cinema Village in New York City.

What Goes Up - Reviews
Films that have a limited release tend to need better reviews that those that open wide, simply because people who go out of their way to see these smaller films demand more. Seeing film open in limited release with only 60% is a bad sign. Seeing one opening with 0% positive is... What's worse than worst? Worster? It's not all bad news, as there has been some critics giving positive reviews to the acting by Olivia Thirlby, Hilary Duff, and some of the rest of the young cast. On the other hand, the script is nearly universally savaged. What Goes Up opens tonight in 16 theaters, including in New York City and Los Angeles, but also in Las Vegas and other cities.


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Filed under: Limited Releases, Okuribito, What Goes Up